June 25, 2014 - BY LAURA DuCHARME
Frank and Annamarie Quinlan have been married since World War II. (click for larger version)
Special to The Clarkston News
It's quite rare to find a couple married for 70 years, but on June 24, Frank and Annamarie Quinlan of Springfield Township celebrated their 70th anniversary, complete with a party hosted by their family.
"It was supposed to be a surprise party," said Frank, 93. "It's kind of hard to keep this a surprise, though."
Frank was a merchant seaman, a fireman on the ships, meaning he was in the engine room shoveling coal. When they were docked in Detroit, a friend asked him what he was doing for the night. He was going to visit his girlfriend in Ferndale and thought Frank might be interested in going and meeting her sister.
When they arrived at the house she wasn't there - she was babysitting a few houses down the road. She came home shortly after, though, and her hair was up in curlers.
"I didn't want to go inside when I saw people were there," said Annamarie with a chuckle. "I had to, though, because it was winter so it was cold."
At first impression Frank thought Annamarie was stuck up because she didn't talk much, but she didn't want to draw attention to herself with curlers in her hair.
Frank was supposed to go rollerblading with his friend and Annamarie's sister, but when he found out Annamarie was going ice-skating he opted to do that instead.
"I'm from Canada," Frank said. "We learn how to ice-skate before we can walk."
The entire group ended up going ice-skating, but his friend didn't last long because he got cold. Once he and his girlfriend left Frank was left with Annamarie and her friends.
"I was left at the ice-rink with a bunch of girls," said Frank laughing. "I couldn't complain though. It wasn't a bad situation to be in."
Frank and Annamarie began dating and three months later they were engaged. On June 24th, 1944, a year and a half later, they were married.
With Frank being gone for World War II, Annamarie would often travel to go meet him whenever he was docked somewhere.
They also wrote each other letters, but by the time he would get them he would have already seen her so he never opened them.
"Our daughter has about 70 unopened letters at her house that used to be mine," said Frank.
Frank and Annamarie have four children, Christine, Colleen, Patrick and Sean. They also have 12 grandchildren and are lucky enough to have 12 great-grandchildren, as well.
"We have family all over the country," said Annamarie. " And Canada because Frank is from there."
Their children threw the "surprise" party and a lot of their family from all over visited for the celebration. They also held surprise parties for them for their 40th and 60th anniversaries.
"She hates surprises," said Frank.
"I told them not to throw one this year," said Annamarie with a smile on her face. "My daughter got really quiet and I said if they did I wouldn't show up. But I'm going."